2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
WAVERLY—A second-half surge by the Central College men’s basketball team wasn’t enough in an 86-78 Iowa Conference defeat Wednesday at Wartburg College.
Central trailed 47-30 at halftime and was down 26 with 9:44 remaining when a jumper by Kevin Kaerwer (guard, junior, El Paso, Texas, Lamar Consolidated HS) sparked the Dutch offense for a 13-3 run to make it 70-56 at the 5:52 mark. Wartburg was up by 17 with 2:28 left when Central pulled within seven, draining six 3-pointers along the way, but the buzzer sounded before the Dutch could get any closer.
“We dug ourselves in a hole again,” coach Craig Douma said. “Give Wartburg credit, they executed on offense, but we didn’t defend like we needed to until the end of the game.
“When we guarded with a sense of urgency in the second half we created a lot of turnovers and got to play our game with a transition offense, and we started finishing our shots.”
Wartburg (7-5 overall, 2-0 conference) shot 50.9 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from long range. Central (7-5 overall, 0-2 conference) finished with 45.6 percent from the floor after hitting 38.5 in the first half. The Knights outrebounded the Dutch 40-29.
Forward Matt Greenfield (junior, Huxley, Ballard HS) posted 16 points, knocking down 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Guard Branden Stubbs (junior, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines Christian HS) had 15 points, guard Nile Eckermann (sophomore, Oxford, Clear Creek-Amana HS) came off the bench for 14 and guard Nick Marinkovich (senior, Clarendon Hills, Ill., Hinsdale Central HS) had 11. Greenfield, Marinkovich and center Spencer Bakerink (junior, Creston) each had five rebounds.
The Dutch meet Luther College Saturday in a women’s-men’s doubleheader at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. The Norse are 9-4 overall with a 2-0 league record after a 59-53 win against Simpson College Wednesday.
The women’s game is set to begin at 2 p.m. with the men tipping off around 4 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on KRLS-FM (92.1) with Cory Houser calling the play-by-play. The broadcast, along with live stats and a video webcast, can be accessed through Central’s athletics website at www.central.edu/athletics.